Welcome to our website

We hope you find looking at our website both informative and enjoyable. The website was first launched at the Rowlands Castle Village Fair in July 2016. It was reviewed three years later, and relaunched in May 2021. Comments and recommendations are still welcome to the editor.

Should you not be familiar with searching websites, please read the brief notes below:

1. To view the Website content you can click on:
            i. the photos on the Home Page for pictorial access
            ii. the ‘Site Map’, to show a table of contents
            iii. the search icon on the top menu bar, and type in your topic of interest

2. Most photos, logos or icons on Home Page can be clicked to go to another page or website

3. To enlarge each photo for better viewing, click on the photo which may also provide a entry to a carousel

4. Comments or questions about the website can be answered by contacting the editor.

Editorial: The following article appeared in the June 2021 edition of the Emsworth Border Times. It is reproduced here with their permission.

Relaunch of the Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre Website in 2021: rchc.org.uk

All at the Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre are delighted to announce that our website has been relaunched. The idea of a Heritage Centre for Rowlands Castle evolved from 2015 when Peter Goss from Harrogate offered to sell to the Village the Model Railway that he had designed and built. His model features the Village Green and Railway Station during the preparations for the Normandy Landings in June 1944 – not only an interesting working model railway, but also a veritable time capsule of those fateful times.

A small informal working group of interested residents, under the auspices of the Rowlands Castle Association, met to consider the offer and the issues that arose. These were how; to fund its purchase, where to display and store the model, and how to manage such a project in the longer term. Ideas for a museum, heritage centre or community hub were mooted along with a proposal to invite residents to offer donations towards buying the model. A decision was taken to promote a new Heritage Centre project, together with the development of a website initially as a promotional or communication tool. This led to the website evolving into a virtual museum, consolidating much local information which was scattered across the community.

At the same time, consideration was given to a home for the model, including the unused rooms over the local railway station – a Grade II Listed Victorian building. For such a lease to be agreed, the new Heritage Centre would need to become a ‘legal entity’, so it was registered with the Charities commission as a ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation’. When sufficient funds had been committed, purchase and delivery was arranged for Feb 2017 when Peter Goss and his wife brought the model down to the Parish Hall – where they demonstrated how to assemble and disassemble the model for the benefit of the volunteers who would operate it. We are grateful that we were able to display the model railway for three years at Stansted House during its open season. While the idea for leasing the railway station is now in abeyance, the need for a permanent home remains and suggestions will be welcome.     

The Website was launched at the Village Fair in July 2016, to describe the heritage project and to invite residents to commit to funding to purchase of the model. After three years of operation, it was felt that a reassessment and fresh look were necessary. More photos and paintings had become available, as had aerial photography, and a set of audio interviews. The review and relaunch took longer than expected but has now been delivered! Initial responses have been positive.

Future research projects are now being considered: to include the assessment of Census data to illustrate the growth of the area and history of some families; residents who arrived in the village later in life – termed ‘Newcomers’ – will be invited to describe their experience of coming to and living in the local community. Descriptions of the farming community and other ‘custodians of the countryside’ such as the Forestry Commission will be invited to contribute.

When you view the website, we hope that you will be attracted by the photos and paintings. We also hope that your curiosity about the area may be satisfied. Would you be interested to learn that there is one designated ‘Conservation Area’ – the Green; one Parish Council; one oilfield; one large land-fill site – now nearing restoration; one state school; one ‘Ancient Farm’; one railway station and a small Post Office (thanks to Winnicott’s Stores). There are two estates (or country parks) open to the public; two stores; three cafes; three new housing estates; three former schools; six churches; six public houses; but only half a dozen farms and a number of stables, and much more. The Heritage Centre is also seeking to add more archive material – old documents or maps, photos, paintings, audio recordings. You may already have drafted an article on a relevant research topic that you would like to be published.

To contribute to or comment on the website, please contact either the chair or the editor.

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